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Biographical details


Studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths' School of Art (1962-66), receiving a distinction for her dissertation 'Rhythmic Proportion: a Study of the Relationship Between Art and Mathematics', and Fine Art Post-graduate year at Chelsea School of Art (1966-67). Between 1976-83 carried out research for a PhD in Fine Art (Inter-disciplinary) jointly at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and Leicester Polytechnic, now De Montfort University. 'Patterns of Organisation in Constructive Art' was one of the first practice-based research programmes (with a 60,000 word thesis and exhibition) awarded a PhD by the CNAA.


Taught Visual Research in the School of Industrial Design, Leicester Poly-technic 1967-70 and then Sculpture in the School of Fine Art, from 1970 onwards, Head of Sculpture, 1988-92. Awarded a Personal Chair in Fine Art 1994, with responsibility for research throughout the School, until resigning in 2001 to focus more fully on her own work. Visiting Tutor at the Slade, Post-graduate Studies, 1977-78 and since then, Visiting Artist/Lecturer/Professor at many Institutions, including Birmingham, Chelsea, Exeter, Edinburgh Schools of Art. Lecture subjects include the relationship of practice to theory; art for public spaces and places; processes of creativity, the concept of inter-disciplinarity, as well as contemporary issues in constructivism etc. Has also lectured in mathematics at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leicester, Nottingham and Oxford, Department of Continuing Education, and Archaeology at the Universities of London, Warwick, Manchester, Keele and Leicester. Awarded a grant to implement a series of 8 workshops by Leicestershire County Council, on the relationship of Mathematics to other subjects, through art and design activities, for schools, 2003-5.


Has given papers at conferences, particularly on research in non-traditional areas and in practice, including Sculpture in Education conference at Manchester Metropolitan University, 1992; Design for Living, 3DD conference at Sheffield Hallam University, 1993; Research in Art and Design, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 1994; Matrix 3-D, Central School of Art and Design 1995 etc and The Question of Originality in Practice-based Research at the University of Hertfordshire, 2000. Over the last decade has been MA, MPhil and PhD External Examiner at numerous universities, including Manchester Metropolitan University, The Royal College of Art, University of Leeds, Bretton Hall, University of Central England, Robert Gordon University: Grays School of Art, University of Gloucester (2006).


Has had a number of periods of leave from teaching to pursue work for her PhD and professional activities, including two sabbaticals to the Tate Gallery, London to work on the Retrospective Exhibitions for Kenneth Martin (1975) and Mary Martin (1984) - both constructivist artists - designing and editing the catalogue for Mary Martin, and carrying out restoration for both Retrospectives.


Trained in field archaeology 1972-73. A sabbatical from Leicester Polytechnic was awarded to carry out research for a book: Roman Tessellated Pavements: Constructive Theory and Practice, 1994, for which she was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. Recent research papers have been presented at the Rome Colloquium on Ancient Mosaics in 2001 and for the Leicestershire Literary and Philosophical Society, 2004 - published in their Transactions. In 2002 set up publishing venture: Walker Mayo Associates, which issued a CD of circa 200 comparative analytical drawings of Geometric Design in Roman Pavements, and a book of the same title in 2003. Investigative drawings and photographs have been published since, including in House of the Maenander, Pompeii, Roger Ling (University of Manchester), OUP, 2004.


Has exhibited in more than one hundred shows - solo, group and touring - since 1964, in the UK, Europe and USA, including: 1971 Serpentine Gallery (solo show, West Gallery); since 1983 most exhibitions have been abroad: 1983 Nature-Structure-Construction, Taidemuseo, Kemi, Finland (additionally editing the book of the same name, published the same year); 1989 Arte Systematico y Constructivo, Centro Culturale, Madrid; 1989 Constructivism: Man Versus Environment, World Trade Centre, Rotterdam; 1990 Before Sculpture: Sculptors' Drawings, New York Studio School, New York; more recently has shown in 21 Abstract and Constructive Artists, Galerie Laik, Koblenz, 1999; Mondiale Echoes, Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort, 2000 and again at the Mondriaanhuis in September 2003. Most exhibitions have published statements or catalogue essays, particularly for the series of exhibitions with the Countervail and Postal Academy group: Mappin Gallery, Sheffield; Mead Gallery, University of Warwick; King's Manor Gallery, University of York. Conference papers on her professional art practice include Sculpture in the Garden, Artstranspennine, Bretton Hall, 2000 and at the Bomen van Pythagoras Conference, Mondriaanhuis, 2003. 2009-11 Work from Arts Council England Collection on show at their offices, London; now being exhibited at the refurbished Park Hill Flats, Sheffield in British Modern Remade, 2012.


Has won 25 awards, including an Arts Council Major Award, grants and prizes. Artworks in 68 collections, UK and abroad (up to 2010).


Public commissions and environmental and architectural projects have been carried out since 1965. These have included 1984, Construct-ivist Gates for the Liverpool Garden Festival; 1986-89, Layered Lattices: A Constructive Environment, an architecturally integrated interior painted scheme for the whole Out-Patients Department, Hammersmith Hospital, London; 1988-89, Interconnections, three wall reliefs for British Rail at Heathrow Departure, Reading Station; 1991-93, Hill, Beck and Marsh, Quarry House, Leeds, for the Departments of Health and Social Security, two large sculpturally landscaped courtyards, with electronically phased water features, hard and soft landscaping, seating and lighting; 1993-94, Stepped Lattices, a sculptural landscaping scheme, with stabilization structures and lighting, for the University of Warwick; 1993-95, Tidal Reach, an electronically programmed water feature and paving for Chatham High Street, Kent, for Rochester City Council, etc. She worked on a series of public design projects for Warwickshire Schools, realised between 1995 and 1998. Since then has given lectures and talks and held seminars on public art, for city and district councils, universities and other bodies, more recently conducting short interviews with the public on the viability of art in and for public spaces, commissioned by Art Matters and Birmingham City Council, 2006.


In addition to critical essays, broadsheets and statements about her own work, has also written on the work of constructivists Kenneth and Mary Martin, more recently a chapter: Working Methods in the book to accompany the touring exhibition of the work of Mary Martin, 2004-5 and wrote the (short) biography of Mary Martin for the New DNB, OUP, 2004. Co-authored the book on Ann Sutton for the Crafts Council, published Lund Humphries, 2004. Carried out restoration on the work of the Martins for their centenary exhibition, 2007, at the Camden Arts Centre, London, Tate Gallery St Ives, and 2008 the De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill, giving 3 three talks about the work at the two latter venues. Restoration carried out on a 1953 mobile for the Government Art Collection in 2011 together with research into the work and related mobiles. Research carried out on a drawing by Kenneth Martin for Sheffield Museums, 2012.



Notes to photographs


1. Ten columns, 1972


Invited proposal for wind-activated columns for the John Dalton Faculty of Technology, Manchester Polytechnic & Arts Council of Great Britain, as viewed from the adjacent fly-over. Based on a (pendulum) permutation of ten, to be fabricated in enamelled, canelured steel box components, supported on Teflon coated bearings. Stabilised by a triangulated grid at the top and steel cables to adjacent fixing points on the ground.


This free-standing work was the natural development to the articulated reliefs which had begun the previous year (see Permutation on 5, 1971, in A Reflexive History) and continued for about six years. See also Permutation on 7, 1974 (Coll. Arts Council; colour photograph: The Times, 24th April, 2009)

2. Permutation of 4, with Blue and Red, 1975


One of a series of reliefs made between 1968 and 1975 based on pendulum permutations, with the majority using, first, aluminium (1968-70) and then stainless steel (1970-75), as reflective receptors/deflectors, either as the back surface (as here) or as surfaces on the articulated elements of the relief and either visible or only partially visible. In several reliefs, colour is only seen as a reflection (as here). Intermittent or extraneous external light constantly changes the colour tones and values. (Exhibited in the Chichester Open, 1975, selected from an open submission).

3. Layered Lattices, 1986-89


The Lattice series began in 1978 resulting in the double gates, Lattices, 1984 for the International Garden Festival, sponsored by Merseyside Development Corporation & the Serpentine Gallery. (See Home Page).


Layered Lattices was an integrated interior painted scheme for the Out-Patients Department, Hammersmith Hospital, commissioned by Llewllyn-Davies, Weeks, Architects, and the Public Art Development Trust, 1986-89. The starting point for the scheme was the ten columns and half columns of the building (a coincidence – not to be connected with the ten columns for Manchester Polytechnic) which were equidistant points of reference throughout the Department. The requirement was to link the various rooms, clinics and areas of public access through structure and colour. Transparent acrylic paint was used so that by overlapping new and sometimes unexpected colours were generated, thus promulgating the notion of interconnection and interaction between the various areas. External panels of the building – yellow - also linked immediately with yellow internally, through the windows, linking inside with outside. A video of the evolution of the work and its practical manifestation was produced in 1988 and shown at the World Trade Centre, Rotterdam, in 1989 with the model and drawings (Constructivism: Man versus Environment). Drawings for this project have been exhibited on numerous occasions.


4. Topological Equivalents, 1981


A number of drawings between 1980 and 1988 were carried out within a circular format. Implied curved space offered new territory and has been returned to at various times since. This drawing uses information from The Interchange Series: Development of Lattices, 1981/2 No.IV by mapping on to a polar grid.


5. Development of Lattices No.IV

From the Interchange Series MS14² 1981-82

ink,pencil,wash,spirit ink on cartridge


An array of consecutive numbers in a 14x14 square subjected to permutation and processes and precedures of reduction. Colour is used to identify the changes. In subsequent drawings linear results become either symmetrical or asymmetrical; lines of coincidence are identified by red, blue or green according to orientation.


Lines in drawings expand to overlaping planes. Realised in three-dimensions as Lattices 1984, double gates for the Liverpool Garden Festival - see home page.



All images and text © 2023 Susan Tebby Content on this site may not be reproduced without prior consent of the artist.

Dividing Ovoid, 1962  pleaster  c.12cm diameter